How Do You Clean Lingual Braces?

Lingual Braces

While traditional braces are visible, lingual braces are not. Their ability of these braces to remain hidden behind the teeth has made them a popular alternative to the traditional braces worn on the front of the teeth. However, lingual braces are trickier to clean than traditional braces are and if proper cleaning techniques are not utilized throughout the straightening process, after removal, spotty teeth with cavities may be evident.

Tips for Cleaning Lingual Braces

Use the Proper Tools

It can take several weeks to adjust to wearing and cleaning lingual braces; however, once you have made this adjustment and determined which tools are the most comfortable for you to use, this cleaning process will become second nature.

There are a couple options available for flossing:

  • Interdental Cleaners Interdental cleaners are ideal for cleaning lingual braces. These cleaners fit between tight spaces and are able to remove plaque more efficiently than traditional floss. Interdental cleaners are available in a variety of sizes. Purchase a combo pack to determine which size or sizes fit between your braces the best.
  • Super Floss Super Floss is a tool designed to clean between braces, wide dental gaps and bridges. Super Floss consists of three unique components, a stiff threader, a spongy floss and conventional floss. The stiff threader makes it easier to gain access to the backside of the teeth (beneath the braces) as well as between the teeth, the spongy floss picks up more plaque and food particles than traditional floss will, and the conventional floss can be used between the teeth themselves.

Practice Proper Dental Hygiene Daily

To ensure that tooth decay and gingivitis are not an issue, you must practice proper dental hygiene every day.

Daily dental hygiene includes:

  • Brushing the teeth and the gum line with a soft, round-bristle toothbrush. Brush two times a day for at least two minutes per session (30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of the mouth). Most patients choose to brush their teeth upon rising and directly before they head to bed. Oral-B™ Electric Toothbrushes are a great investment because they have a built-in mechanism that causes the toothbrush to pulsate every 30 seconds, which directs the user to move to another quadrant of the mouth.
  • Flossing to remove food debris and plaque between the teeth and behind the braces.
  • Using some type of oral irrigation device to flush out food particles around the teeth and the lingual braces.
  • Strengthening teeth by using a fluoride rinse.

Remove Debris Directly Following Meals

While the majority of people brush and floss twice a day, adding cleanings following food consumption is recommended. By cleaning out debris with a dental pick, Waterpik™ or floss directly after a meal, there is less time for the food to negatively affect the teeth and the gums. Furthermore, removal of food particles is much easier following a meal than it is hours later.

About the Waterpik™

For people with and without braces, the use of a Waterpik™ can be beneficial. However, using a Waterpik™ is not as effective as using dental floss or interdental cleaners. The Waterpik™ is unable to reach some of the tighter areas between the teeth. However, a water pick can be used as a mechanism to flush out large food particles that are sitting around the teeth and the braces after a meal.

Food Choices

Chewing gum and sticky foods (e.g., caramel and taffy) tend to get stuck in and around braces. Additionally, crunchy and hard foods have the potential to loosen bands, bend wires or cause the adhesive that holds the brackets in place to become loose. If the brackets are loosened, the length of time the braces need to be worn increases. Thus, affecting your removal date: For this reason, avoiding these kinds of foods is recommended.

Professional Dental Cleanings are Vital

Diligently cleaning your teeth while you wear your lingual braces substantially decreases the likelihood of white spots or cavities being present upon their removal. Even so, professional dental cleanings must be performed every six months. During these cleanings any missed plaque and debris is removed before it can build up.

Schedule Regular Checkups at Valderrama Orthodontics

During your regular checkups, Dr. Natalia Valderrama will make sure that your lingual braces are not bent, loose or becoming loose: Since the length of time braces are worn can be affected by these issues, regular checkups ensure that your braces will be removed sooner, rather than later.

If you are looking for a caring, compassionate and experienced orthodontist, please contact Valderrama Orthodontics today at 321-544-4127 to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. Dr. V and her staff understand that life is busy, which is why an After-School Program has been created: This program is designed to assist families with making sure their children are able to receive the orthodontic care they need.

Everything You Didn’t Know About Lingual Braces

When it comes to straightening the teeth, there are many different orthodontic options. One of them is lingual braces. Still, many people are not familiar with this relatively new orthodontic appliance. Here is a bit of information to explain everything that you didn’t know about lingual braces:

Exactly what are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are braces that are positioned on the rear side of the teeth, next to the tongue. Since they are not applied to the front of the teeth, they are not readily displayed when you smile, speak or laugh.

Lingual braces are made of metal, just as traditional metal braces are. In addition, they work in a similar manner. They apply consistent but gentle pressure to coax the teeth into proper alignment.

What is the process for receiving lingual braces?

Once your orthodontist has assessed your teeth and confirmed that lingual braces will work for you, he or she prepares a mold or impression of your teeth. This impression is forwarded to a dental lab, where it is used as a guide to create the brackets of your braces. The process takes several weeks. Once the brackets are received back at the dental office, the orthodontist affixes the brackets to the back side of the teeth using dental cement.

How long does the treatment take with lingual braces?

Aligning the teeth with lingual braces usually takes between a year-and-a-half to three years. The time needed to reposition the teeth depends on how severe your misalignment and bite issues are.

Are lingual braces more expensive than traditional braces?

Lingual braces do cost a bit more than traditional braces due to their customized design. However, if you are an adult who is choosing to have your teeth straightened, the extra cost is probably more than worth the investment. Many adults prefer to have their teeth realigned discreetly.

How do you care for lingual braces?

Lingual braces, like other orthodontic appliances, require regular cleaning in order to discourage tooth decay and gum problems. Once your lingual braces are installed, be sure to do the following:

  • Brush twice daily. Even with your braces in place, you will still need to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes or more. This will help ensure that plaque does not build up on your teeth or your orthodontic appliance.
  • Floss at least once a day. It is also important not to neglect to floss after receiving your braces. A floss threader is often a great option for people who wear braces to ensure that the dental floss can be navigated around the brackets. Even though you may be brushing meticulously, a toothbrush is unable to reach the areas between your teeth.
  • Use an oral irrigator. Oral irrigators or water flossers can help remove food particles and plaque that may become trapped in your brackets or between your teeth. The irrigator includes a wand that directs a concentrated stream of water at the desired area of your mouth to flush away debris.
  • Use a fluoride rinse. Using a fluoride rinse while wearing your braces can help ensure that your teeth remain strong. Fluoride can make your teeth more resistant to damages from bacterial acid. When your tooth enamel is exposed to fluoride, the substance attracts dissolved minerals back to the surface of your teeth to form a new, more acid-resistant tooth material.
  • Visit your dentist every six months. With lingual braces, you still need to receive routine dental cleanings at least every six months to ensure that tartar buildup is regularly removed during your alignment process.

Is there any discomfort associated with lingual braces?

Like other types of braces, your mouth will need to become acclimated to the lingual braces. Initially, there may be a bit of irritation to your tongue. However, wax can be used to cover the braces and make them less irritating as you become accustomed to them. Also, you will have to get used to speaking while wearing the braces.

With traditional braces, patients have to become acclimated to moving their lips over the bulk of the braces on the front of their teeth. With lingual braces, you must become acclimated to moving your tongue while having the brackets bordering the backside of the teeth. Acclimation doesn’t take long at all, but the sensation may feel foreign to your tongue at first.

To determine if lingual braces are right for you, contact our office to schedule an appointment.